She Was Kidnapped, Locked Up, And Raped—But Survived And Is Thriving

Today, Anita Wooldridge is a victim’s advocate who wants others to learn from her story. "I can’t believe I went through all this for nothing," she told Oxygen for an exclusive interview. 

In June 1998, Anita Wooldridge was kidnapped from her home, locked inside a metal storage cabinet, and beaten and raped for eight days until her rescue. “He wanted a girlfriend,” Wooldridge said of her captor, a convicted sex offender. “As long as I was still useful to him, he wasn’t going to kill me.”

During this time, she held onto a few things: “my faith, and praying, and thinking of my family back home, and wanting to be with them. That’s how I kept my sanity.” Her astonishing kidnapping and rescue is the subject of episode 4 of Oxygen’s Three Days to Live (Sundays at 6/7c and 9/8c), but her recovery from the trauma of that experience is a story much longer than eight days.

“Make sure you get help, now, immediately. Even if you think you don’t need it,” Wooldridge said, as advice to other people with post-traumatic stress. “I was stubborn, I didn’t want help, I didn’t want to go to therapy. When my therapist asked me ‘why [are you] here?,’ I answered, ‘because they made me.’” 

“But as things slowed down and things started to fall apart, I was already established with someone,” she added. “I’m not saying every day was easy—but I had a support system. Everyone who has been through something traumatic needs a support system.”

Today, Wooldridge is a victim’s advocate, speaking frequently to church and school groups about safety and her faith. Her kidnapping is used as a case study for the FBI. And, with the help of one of her therapists, she wrote a book about her experience, a writing process she calls “absolutely” therapeutic.

“It’s a way, if I don’t want to do public speaking anymore, if I don’t want to do TV shows, that my story can continue,” she said. “Because I can’t believe I went through all this for nothing.”

Crime Time is your destination for breaking crime news, original reporting, and information about Oxygen's programming. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our Martinis & Murder podcast!

You May Also Like...

Recommended by Zergnet